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21st Century Sports Medicine: Not Your Grandfather's Concussion Protocol


"We do a lot of rehab now for concussions. When I gave talks 10 years ago, it was sort of you wait and see until somebody gets better. But now...it's really physiatry-based..."

Now, according to Kevin Carneiro, DO, a physiatrist and sports medicine specialist at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, concussion treatment includes physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational and vision therapy--a long way from the "wait and see" approach that included rest in a darkened room. Of course, the nature and duration of acute care will differ by individual, but Carneiro says that the approach to recovery from concussion more closely follows the proactive path of treatment for moderate to severe brain injury, drawing from a range of therapeutic modalities that would not have been considered before.

In this conversation with Patient Care®, Carneiro talks more about the evolution of sports medicine practice and the shift toward putting athletes back into sport in better shape than they left when injured and far better prepared to prevent another injury.

Kevin Carneiro, DO, is associate professor of neurosurgery and physical medicine rehabilitation at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, NC. Carneiro also is the medical director of the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes as well as the Executive Director of the Brain and Body Health Program at UNC. He is the physician for all patients in the Matthew Gfeller Concussion Clinic at UNC.

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